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For alternate interpretation, click here to see Mrs.James Maddux' transcription.

Shared by Jan Oldham on 15 October 1998.

Found in a scrapbook in the Sevierville Library in March, 1998.
Transcribed by Mrs. Beulah D. Linn, former Sevier County Historian, and originally published 26 Aug 1975.

Sixteen years after the end of the Revolutionary War, President John Adams had the trying task of guiding a young nation which was torn with party strife at home and was regarded with none too great respect abroad.  Our relations with our ally France were growing worse.  Congress had denounced the Treaty of 1778 and had authorized our ships to prey on French commerce.  In 1799 a state of war with France existed.  However, Napoleon was intent on establishing his power in France and Europe and wanted no trouble with the United States.  Adams, by his skillful negotiations with France, was able to avert war.

In 1799 the Second General Assembly of the State of Tennessee was in session.  Peter Bryant (Bryan), a Revolutionary soldier, frontiersman, and Indian fighter of Dumplin Valley, who lived at Henry's Crossroads near the present Douglas Dam, represented Sevier County in the House.  Spencer Clack, a Revolutionary War soldier who had been a member of the Constitutional Convention in 1796 and signed the first Constitution of Tennessee, also represented Sevier County, in the house.

In 1799 the people who owned land in Sevier County had gained ownership in the following ways: (1) Military grant for service in the Revolutionary War; (2) a North Carolina land grant; (3) State of Franklin grant; (4) purchase from another person; (5) inheritance.  Many people were living on land which they held as occupants.  Eventually occupancy grants were issued by the State of Tennessee in 1808.  However, in 1799, the people who did not have a title - the occupants - made an appeal to the Second General Assembly in the form of a petition which is one of many in the Tennessee State Library and Archives in Nashville, Tennessee.  The petition which folows is of historical significance.  In the absence of any Sevier County census records before 1830, many of the signatures are the names of pioneer families whose descendants are living in Sevier County today.

No action was taken on the petition.  On August 22, 1799 it was read in the House and referred to the "Committee of Proposition."  In the Senate it was read and marked "Not Reasonable."

A Petition of Sundry Inhabitants South of French Broad to the Honorable General Assembly of the State of Tennessee and To the Speaker of Both Houses:

We, your petitioners, humbly beg leave to show to your honorable body that the local situation of our county is such that it contains a great quantity of poor, barren land which we through necessity have been forced to settle on and which is in -------not fit for cultivation.  We look up to you as the guardians of our rights and pray you in your wisdom, patriotism and virtue may, if you should think proper, to open a land ofice that we may have our land at a modest price agreeable to the different qualities of the same and that we may be indulged for the purchase money as ong as you in your wisdom may think proper.  We also pray a repeal of that act that binds taxation on our lands not being held by deed, grant or entry.  We further represent as a grievance the excise tax and stamp act as infringing upon our rights and we your petitioners as in duty bound shall pray:"

Jesse Renfro Cornelius Guin
John Clack William Freshour
Robert Henderson Jeremiah West
Andy Bales Homer Bales
James Oldham John Moon
Richard Fancher Richard Shields
Daniel McLaughlin Alexander McLaughlin
William Walden Jno. Bell
Ebenezer Donelson William Conelson
Thos. Davis William Isbels
David Nelson John Herod (Howard?)
William Walker William Bird
Nathaniel Perry James Warmack
John Dillard Jessica Kelly
John Beard Zebulon Bird
Joseph Headly Robert Coonce
Samuel Coonce William Davis
Harrison Cooper Martin Cooper
Jesse Cooper John Lewis
Robert Moore George Ammons
Mandy Lewis Alexander Anderson
Elijah Veach Andrew Smith
Moses Baskins John Rogers
Wm. Anderson Benjamin Johnson
Thomas Boykin Rubin Walden
Wm. Thomas Benjamin Cooper
Isaac Thomas, Jr. Thomas Beavers
James Henderson James Creighton
Richard Woods Richard Randles
Lamon Trigg John Davis
Richard Eastrige Shadrack Coonce
Jesse Coonce Josiah Rogers
James Major John Miller
John Guin Hugh Boykin
Wm. Varnall Nathaniel Moon
James Manifold Henry Haggard
John Fryer Joseph Taylor
James Walden David Walden
James Pinkerton John Kelly
Humphry Donelson Robert Smith
Robert Davis Levi Isabels
David Taylor David Walker
Charles Thomas Jerusha Davis
Jacob Adams E. Dillard
David Fields Wm. Miller
David Bird J. Fielding Davis
Elisha Dillard Robert Herman
Thomas Whitten Benson Davis
William Cooper James Barnes
Wm. Lovelady Thomas Lovelady
William Hatcher Haney Person
Joseph Wilson Phillip Roberts
John Baskin Edmond Ellege
Macheck Tipton Mordecai Tipton
Henry Rogers William Crowson
Aaron Crowson Ma Crowson
Dsmurl McKnight

John Thomas

Henry Turner Muler Isabels
Valentine Shults William Colvert
William Henderson John Parker
James Runion James Randles
John Randles

Daniel Small

Robert Davis Wm. Blackburn
Philip Coonce Shadrack Jerman
Jonathan Bird James Saunders
John Coak Wm. Donnell, Jr.
Joseph Bowyers James Moore
Andrew Bird Adam Tooley
Daniel Richmond Wm. Crabtree
Joseph Wright Robert Donnell
Robert Hancock John Foster
Alex Hicks Black Hedley
James Richmond Wm. Smith
Luke Osborn Joseph Crabtree
Wm. Donnell Jesse Thompson
John Brownlee Matthew Richmond
Wm. McNelly Robert Mitchell
Robert Tipton Samuel Donnell

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